Volume 67, Number 3, August 2004
|Page(s)||418 - 424|
|Section||Condensed matter: structure, mechanical and thermal properties|
|Published online||01 July 2004|
Twist-bend instability for toroidal DNA condensates
Max-Planck-Institut für Polymerforschung - Ackermannweg 10, 55128 Mainz, Germany
Accepted: 19 May 2004
We propose that semiflexible polymers in poor solvent collapse in two stages. The first stage is the well-known formation of a dense toroidal aggregate. However, if the solvent is sufficiently poor, the condensate will undergo a second structural transition to a twisted entangled state, in which individual filaments lower their bending energy by additionally orbiting around the mean path along which they wind. This “topological ripening” is consistent with known simulations and experimental results. It connects and rationalizes various experimental observations ranging from strong DNA entanglement in viral capsids to the unusually short pitch of the cholesteric phase of DNA in sperm heads. We propose that topological ripening of DNA toroids could improve the efficiency and stability of gene delivery.
PACS: 64.70.Nd – Structural transitions in nanoscale materials / 87.15.He – Dynamics and conformational changes / 61.30.Pq – Microconfined liquid crystals: droplets, cylinders, randomly confined liquid crystals, polymer dispersed liquid crystals, and porous systems
© EDP Sciences, 2004
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